The executive behind CNET is building a company centered on voice

Wasserman of the Wasserman Media Group (L) arrives with CNET
founder Shelby Bonnie at the 26th annual Allen & Co
conference in Sun Valley, Idaho July 9, 2008.

REUTERS/Rick Wilking

  • Shelby Bonnie helped found CNET in the 1990s. Now he
    wants to build an artificial intelligence platform for a
    voice-controlled digital home of the future.
  • Pylon ai aspires to be the connective tissue for media
    companies and advertisers creating content for devices like
    Amazon’s Echo.
  • The first publication built for Pylon ai is Tasted, an
    instructional cooking product.

Shelby Bonnie
was one of the earliest pioneers in digital
publishing when in 1993 he and Halsey Minor cofounded the tech
site CNET.

Now Bonnie sees a chance to be early in a new medium once again –
one that may have just as much transformative potential as the
web did a quarter century ago.

He’s set to roll out Tasted, an audio media brand built for
voice assistant devices like Amazon’s
 and Google
. And the plan is for Tasted to be the first of many new
voice-centric “publications” built on a new tech platform Bonnie
and his team have produced, dubbed Pylon ai.

While Tasted aims to help chefs
access recipes from the web by talking to their various digital
assistants (and never having to have their sticky hands touch a
keyboard) it’s Pylon ai that Bonnie sees as revolutionary.

He’s calling the artificial
intelligence technology a “conversational development
platform,” and the aspiration is that it becomes the glue that
connects all of a person’s devices in a soon-to-be-realized
digital home. The vision is that numerous publishers and
advertisers will build apps, tools, services and publications
using the Pylon software.

“We think [voice] is one of
the biggest transformational trends we’ve seen,” Bonnie told
Business Insider. “It’s o

nly meaningful if someone connects them in a
really smart way. So i

magine if you begin to take AI tech and

onnect all the
things about my life, r

emember things about me and


“I think this has the ability to
be that piece we’ve been missing.”

That missing piece will probably
take a bit of time to be fully realized. In the near term,
Tasted promises to offer
some practical content for the growing number of consumers
putting Amazon or Google-powered voice devices in their

is designed to help people make recipes using voice


Bonnie and cofounder Mike Tatum has assembled a collection former
product and engineering executives from companies like
OpenTable, Stubhub and CNET Networks to build out Tasted. In
addition, Regan Cafiso, former food editor
at Food Network, Martha Stewart and the foodie website
Chow has been installed as Tasted’s head of content.

Pylon has received seed funding
from Index Ventures, Allen & Co and a slew of digital
media investors.

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